October 23, 2012 / 10:05 AM / in 5 years

BBC chief says sex abuse claims "very grave"

LONDON (Reuters) - The director general of the BBC said on Tuesday allegations of sexual abuse carried out by one of the publicly funded broadcaster’s former stars represented a very grave matter that had an impact on its reputation.

“This is a gravely serious matter and one cannot look back at it with anything other than horror,” George Entwistle told lawmakers on parliament’s Culture and Media Committee.

“There is no question that what Jimmy Savile did and the way the BBC behaved in the years, the culture and practices of the BBC seemed to allow Jimmy Savile to do what he did will raise questions of trust for us and reputation for us.”

Police are investigating allegations that Savile, once one of Britain’s most celebrated TV stars who died last year, abused women, including girls as young as 12, over a six-decade period, with some of the attacks taking place on BBC premises.

Reporting by Michael Holden Editing by Maria Golovnina

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